I've installed subversion on our RHEL server and also installed dav_svn_module. My location tag in httpd.conf is as follows:

<Location /subversion>
DAV svn
SVNPath /subversion
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Subversion Repository"
AuthUserFile /etc/svn-auth.htpasswd
Require valid-user

I've setup a password for svnuser with

htpasswd -c -m /etc/svn-auth.htpasswd svnuser

After restarting httpd, I try to checkout files from the subversion repository to my local machine and receive the error message above. Note that when I try to view the repository via HTTP, I recieve a HTTP 500 error as well.

The httpd error log shows the following entries:

error: Can't open file /subversion/format No such file or directory
Could not fetch resource information [500, #0]
Could not open the requested SVN filesystem [500, #2]

Note that /subversion/format doesn't exist. Not sure why error log is referencing this non-existent file??

What changes are needed to ensure I can both checkout/commit and authenticate via http?


  • 1
    What is the output of Apache's error.log (filename may vary) – Tim Dec 20 '11 at 18:02

Well, if /subversion is a subversion repository (as you've configured it to be in your Apache config), then it sure better have a format directory.

How did you create the repository, or where did you create the repository?

If you intended for /subversion to be the repo itself, then it wasn't created correctly. Run svnadmin create /subversion.

If you intended for /subversion to be a directory which contains repos, then your Apache config should be SVNParentPath /subversion instead of SVNPath /subversion - and the repositories in that location still need to be created with svnadmin create.

  • Thank You!! My issue was use of SVNPath instead of SVNParentPath. I changed httpd.conf, restarted apache, and all is good again:) – SidC Dec 20 '11 at 19:50

I have seen this before, I believe it was related to a permissions problem when I created the svn filesystem. From memory I am thinking permissions of 644 are correct.

Also take a look at your apache logs when you make an svn co or svn list call to your new repository. If something is wrong with permissions at the apache level (as the 500 implies) you will see it in the error log (usually /var/log/apache2/error-log or some similar path).

Good luck.

  • The /subversion directory shows that svnuser has access and root is the owner. Permissoins are drwxrxrwxrwx for the directory. How do I ensure that httpd can access the directory? – SidC Dec 20 '11 at 18:48
  • Ah looks like you got your answer! – Adam Parrish Dec 21 '11 at 13:35

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